Festival Preview: 2012 Wavefront Music Festival and Interview with festival director Dino Gardiakos

With all the great music festivals we get to enjoy in Chicago every summer, it’s almost mind-boggling to think that no one else has attempted to organize one along Lake Michigan’s glorious shoreline. Wavefront Music Festival will set a precedent and do just that, taking place at Montrose Harbor June 29th through July 1st. Presented by the good people at SpyBar, the lineup is bolstered by some of the hottest names in underground dance music at the moment. If it is anything close to the awesome parties they throw at the club throughout the rest of the year, this has potential to be a very special inaugural event. The EDM revolution has swept over America and Wavefront aims to capitalize on its momentum, offering a different slew of artists that have been overlooked by other festivals in Chicago.


“Wavefront Music Festival, Chicago’s inaugural beachside festival, has added a Friday night preview party to kick-off the full weekend of electronic dance music taking place at Montrose Beach. Friday night’s preview party will include live shows by Serge Devant, Lee Curtiss, and Benoit & Sergio. It begins at 5 p.m., and goes until 10 p.m.”




The lineup is about as diverse as you can find in EDM and features a lot of names you won’t see at other festivals here this summer. Spanning across several genres, the lineup is similar to the bookings you would normally see at SpyBar throughout the year. They have also added bigger names in the EDM world like Sasha and Boys Noize, as well as a local stage.  Here are some artists we’re particularly excited for:


Art Department

The Toronto-based duo of Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White have been making music for years and know how to get a party going very quickly. Sexy minimal house is what they do, and they’re pretty damn good at it.


They run one of the hottest labels in dance music at the moment, with each member in high demand at clubs around the world. There really isn’t much to say about Visionquest that hasn’t already been said. Expect these guys to bring a unique and eclectic style to the decks.

Danny Daze

A rising star in the Crosstown Rebels and Hot Creations family of artists, 2012 is poised to be Danny Daze’s biggest year to date. A student of the game, he has been spinning since he was thirteen years old and has a passion for Detroit techno and Italian disco.

Benoit & Sergio

This Berlin/DC based duo has been lauded for their energetic live sets and catchy electro-pop tracks that can get stuck in your head for days. They are great producers that can whip a crowd into a frenzy almost immediately.

Guy Gerber

Coming off his jaw-dropping performance with Seth Troxler at Movement Electronic Music Festival, expect more of the same from Guy Gerber as he performs solo this time around. With his Fabric mix out this week, expect him to explore music from that release, among his other productions.

James Murphy

Putting the kibosh on LCD Soundsystem hasn’t slowed James Murphy down in any sense, in fact, he may be busier than ever. Between running DFA Records and DJing, the man is still hard at work. A vinyl purist, he will bring plenty of vintage disco records with him, as well as other surprises. Expect his set to be a mix of new and old.

Shit Robot

Don’t let the name fool you, Shit Robot is as serious as they come. As a DJ/producer, his style ranges anywhere from techno to spacey electronica. He could be one of the biggest sleepers going into the weekend. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Nic Fanciulli

After witnessing him and Joris Voorn at Movement, we would not pass up another opportunity to catch Nic Fanciulli. He brings a rocking brand of tech house to the booth and is a fantastic producer in his own right.

Duck Sauce

Performing in Chicago for the first time as Duck Sauce, Armand Van Helden and A-Trak’s newest project has taken over the EDM world by storm over the last two years, powered by their hit “Barbra Streisand.” Their energetic disco house show could end up being one of the highlights of the entire weekend.




Here is a list of all the official after parties, click the link above for more information:

What was the inspiration behind Wavefront? What gave you the idea to put something like this on?
It was always kind of the end goal, it feels like we have been working towards this since we began throwing events. It has been on the back burner for a few years and the opportunity finally came up. We feel like the timing is perfect.
Why did you choose to have it at Montrose Harbor?
A few of my friends have a jet ski company there, it was lingering in their minds at the same time, so things kind of came together in that respect. It is a massive beach, when you see it, you will know what I’m talking about. It’s the right place, it’s a little bit farther north of the city and not as congested. Getting there is relatively easy and it’s expandable, there is plenty of room. Right now we are expecting around 15-20,000 people a day. Eventually, we could do upwards of 80-100,000 people.
What are some advantages/disadvantages to hosting it there?
The advantage is obviously the space, it’s not just a beach, there are also grassy areas. There is plenty of parking and public transportation is ok, there is a red line stop nearby. There are not that many neighbors around either, so that helps with the noise levels. As far as disadvantages, it is a little bit up north. There is a bird sanctuary that we don’t want to mess with either. Our production crew has worked out the logistics to ensure the environment will remain safe.
Which production team are you working with?
As far as for sound and lighting, we are using AIS (Audio Integration Services). They are headed up by Matt Edgar. Production and logistics will be headed up by Vasta Productions.
Was it tough to get the city on board for this?
Vasta Productions does a lot of work with the city and the people backing us also have close ties to city management, so it came together smoothly.
You have a lot of artists that will not be playing at any other festivals around here, what was your booking strategy?
We tried to mimic some of the stuff we do at SpyBar, with the artists I believe people should hear, but on a bigger scale. I also picked some  bigger names, some call them “commercial” house guys, that I think should be playing on a big stage here in Chicago like Erick Morillo.
Are you surprised that you are going to be the first person to bring Duck Sauce to Chicago?
Not really, they are expensive! Their fees are keeping them out (laughs). It should be interesting to see Armand and A-Trak in front of all those people, their live show is top-notch.
There are also a lot of local acts on the bill, did you try to showcase what is going on in our music scene at the moment?
I did, but I don’t think I did enough as far as the Chicago house scene, I definitely wanted to do more. I also didn’t want to put a lot of those guys on a smaller stage but going forward I’m definitely going to focus on that more. It’s tough trying to find a balance in a first year event.
What is going to set Wavefront apart from other local festivals?
I think our lineup is going to be more dynamic than anyone else’s. We have a pretty wide spectrum of electronic music which I don’t think other festivals are achieving. They are dynamic in their own way but not as far as the EDM level, they are mostly one-sided.
After the festival ends, what are some late night options for people that want to keep dancing?
Friday we will have Thugfucker here at SpyBar. We open the gates on Friday as well. Lee Curtiss will be performing a live set, Benoit and Sergio will also be on hand, as well as my partner here at SpyBar Garrett B and Serge Devant. Saturday night Visionquest and Art Department will be at Smart Bar and we’ll also have Boys Noize at SpyBar. We might try to do Lee Foss and Danny Daze somewhere on Sunday but that is still being worked on at the moment.
What is toughest thing about planning a music festival?
Everything. There is a lot that goes into it that most people don’t realize. It becomes a full-time job, we’ve been working on this tirelessly for the last six months. If I had to choose anything, I’d say the planning and organization are the most time-consuming aspects.

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Jeremy Frazier is the editor-in-chief of Soundfuse.